Maryland Judiciary Annual Report 2021

Court of Appeals of Maryland and Court of Special Appeals of Maryland

T hroughout the COVID-19 pandemic, then Court of Appeals of Maryland Chief Judge Barbera rose to the occasion and led the Judiciary through a challenging time while never losing sight of the Maryland Judiciary’s goal to provide access to fair, efficient, and effective justice for all. As the world moves into a new phase of the pandemic, the Judiciary is reflecting on the lessons learned during the last two years and which initiatives implemented in the past year and a half will be adopted moving forward. On June 9, 2021, then Chief Judge Mary Ellen Barbera made her last public appearance on the bench. To mark the event, a celebration of her 37-year legal career immediately followed. The virtual event was sponsored by her Court of Appeals colleagues. Judge McDonald served as the master of ceremonies and was joined by current and former state leaders and colleagues who offered thoughtful anecdotes, words of praise, and best wishes. Governor Larry Hogan designated then Maryland Court of Appeals Judge Joseph M. Getty as the new chief judge on September 3, 2021, effective September 11. Soon after his appointment, Chief Judge Getty formed the Joint Subcommittee on Post-COVID Judicial Operations and named Chief Judge Matthew Fader, Court of Special Appeals of Maryland, as chair. The subcommittee was charged with reviewing and assessing the value of technology adapted during the COVID-19 pandemic to make recommendations for the continued use of those initiatives moving forward.

“All the courts throughout the country are looking at changes in operations to provide greater access to the courts and, because of COVID, we’ve turned a lot more to technology,” said Chief Judge Getty. “A primary goal for the courts moving forward is to take the lessons learned from the COVID pandemic and implement them to provide even greater access for Marylanders. It is incumbent upon us to evaluate what innovations, novel uses of technology, or other techniques adapted to meet these challenges are best available for incorporation as future best practices throughout the Maryland Judiciary.”

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